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A Big Switch

drinking tea instead of coffee

My current tea of choice.

You may be done with your first cup of coffee for this bright Monday morning. Typically, I would have had at least two or three cups by now. However, a couple of weeks back, I read an article from Accelawork about the benefits of tea, and they revealed some things I’d never heard. Now, I’ve been a raving advocate of coffee for many years. I even have a cabinet full of coffee cups from all over America. However, I’ve also been battling acid reflux for a long time now, so I decided to give tea a try.

I’m happy to report that I’ve nearly replaced coffee altogether. I’m also happy to tell you the lift from tea is different and good. I don’t feel “buzzed”, just alert and aware. And my acid reflux is all but gone.

I’ve pictured my current favorite. I’ve actually been keeping a box of Plantation Mint around for years. I find that hot tea does well to calm coughing fits that occasionally wake me in the middle of the night when I have a cold. Mint was sort of a random choice a long time ago that I enjoyed and stuck with. And, frankly, unflavored tea is still pretty boring to me. I typically don’t bother with herbal or decaf teas. Don’t really see the point, since my goal is to enjoy it as much as coffee.

What does this have to do with business? Obviously, alertness is good for productivity. But something even more beneficial to your productivity is your long-term good health. Read the linked article for more on this. Then, enjoy your beverage of choice, and have a great week!

Full text link: http://www.accelawork.com/how-tea-helps-your-productivity/

What is your experience with coffee vs. tea?

Open Now – Enrollment for FUELTANK(13)

My excitement in starting this program may only be matched by my gratitude for the people who have helped and are helping make this possible: my coaching program, called FUELTANK(13).

Rather than explaining it here, it would save us both time if you would just click over to the FUELTANK(13) page, read about it, GET EXCITED, and then enroll, of course! I understand, it may be the kind of excitement you feel when you finally get a deep splinter out of your hand, but that’s a WIN too, right?

When you sign up, you’ll get an e-mail soon, welcoming you to the program. It will include payment information and more complete details. You know, the ~real~ exciting stuff. Fasten your seatbelt – it will be a challenging but fun ride, I promise.

 

Focus (not the optical kind)

work interruptionThe busier I get, the more important focus becomes.

How do you achieve higher focus in your workday?

>> Do you need quiet, or do you crank up the music?

>> Do you prefer multitasking or single-tasking?

>> Do you need more breaks, or keep your nose to the grindstone?

>> Do you require or AVOID caffeine?

Off-the-wall comments and suggestions welcome. OK, not TOO off the wall…

(Want to get some of your marketing tasks off your plate? Drop me a line: jr@marketingmercenary.net.)

The Single Worst Habit in Business

We are continually bombarded with options.research

Don’t get me wrong… Many of those options are good. In fact, we often have so many good options from which to choose that we’re paralyzed, trying to narrow our choices down to two or three.

When we finally get down to two or three, we’re afraid of making the wrong decision, and we put it off until we know more.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of business, the economy, the Internet, and the rest of the world, “knowing more” is a constantly moving target. HOW WILL WE EVER DECIDE?

[Aside: If I’m describing any element of your efforts to market your business, just call or message me, and we’ll figure out a way to get you rolling.]

Now, by this point, you probably thought that I was going to say that the single worst habit in business is procrastination. You are close. In today’s business environment, the worst habit is RESEARCH.

“Wait! I have to know what I’m doing before I start something new…!”

Wrong.

You have to make progress, because the best among us are growing and learning by leaps and bounds, CREATING that “something new”. You’re going to have to start trying those new tools, new strategies, new products, etc.

Hang on a second. I don’t necessarily mean brand new to the marketplace. It could be something that’s been around for a while, but you just haven’t INVESTED the time or energy to get your feet wet. Yet.

So, here’s your new habit, starting NOW:

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Getting Over the “Hiccups”

 

Due to some unusually large orders in the month of April, I have shot, reviewed, edited, and delivered about FOUR TIMES the photos in the last month than ever before!

Just having a little fun with one of the "outtakes".

Just having a little fun with one of the “outtakes”.

This wore me out physically, and I got sick this first week of May. Just a bad cold – fortunately nothing too serious.

STILL – NOT GOOD.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely grateful for some new opportunities that came my way.

Here’s the catch. May and June are traditionally my busiest months. And I started the month of May “under the weather.” Not only did I struggle for most of April to keep up with the workload, I got way behind on my home lawn care responsibilities. This time of year, that means that, among other things, my grass got REEEEALLY long. I had to hire a pro to come and “mow me out”! Not that big of a deal for some of us, but I actually enjoy mowing. It takes about 3 hours or so. I listen to music in my big earmuff headphones, and think, and sometimes pray. And, I get some much-needed exercise.

What’s worse is that, during this rough patch, I’ve neglected the platform I use to keep in contact with you – my blog, my Facebook fan page, Twitter (@mmercenary), and even some networking opportunities. When you don’t stay in contact with your audience or customer base, people will look elsewhere for the resources you provide.

What did I learn from this hiccup in the generally smooth Marketing Mercenary process? Two main things:

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Grab That Testimonial – Part 2

Capture that testimonial! (See Part 1)
Yes, I’m a professional videographer/director/editor (I could add some more slashes, but that’s enough for now). Why would I suggest that you capture it yourself? Well, you might have a customer standing at your counter, telling you how much your great products and service make their life better.

Get out your phone camera, or Flip Cam, or laptop webcam. Record it yourself, right then, to capture two things:

1) The words and ideas that convey the true emotion your customer is feeling.

2) The ~willingness~ of that customer to share their feelings with you at that moment.
This video clip can be edited to remove the stumbles, or to enhance the audio and visuals. I can add a logo and title at the beginning, your customer’s name where appropriate, and your contact information at the close.
“But what if it’s really noisy and shaky, or the customer had an embarassingly awful time getting their words out?”
DON’T DELETE IT YET.
Let’s use that “outtake” to write a script (or at least an outline) for a reshoot, where the customer can prepare, and we can set up lighting, a microphone, control the background noise, and get a much more professional-looking and great-sounding recording. Once it’s edited, you’ll have a great story to let potential customers hear from one of your happiest clients!
This social proof helps change a person’s mind, from “will they buy from you?”, to “when will they buy from you?” Happy shooting!

For more unbelievable helpful advice, feel free to shoot me an e-mail: jr (at) marketingmercenary.net. Or, call (7650 997-8687.

Grab That Testimonial – Part 1

You may have heard that the personal testimonial is the most powerful way to influence would-be customers to patronize your business. The second-most-powerful marketing tool is a similar testimonial, captured on video. A testimonial is a great example of “social proof”.
You can use the video (or a link to the video) in the following:
  • Social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, CraigsList, Yelp, or almost any other)
  • E-mail
  • Printed link in your brochure or business card
  • QR code link for mobile consumption
Because of this flexibility, video is a perfect tool for all businesses.
I’m not going to be one of those “marketing experts” that tells you what a great idea something is, without telling you how to accomplish it. Tomorrow: Grab That Testimonial – Part 2 (How and Why)

Strategic Power: Your Content Calendar

It’s tough for some folks to create a 12-month “marketing calendar”. Do this anyway: create your content calendar – topics for each month, and if possible, each week.
► Once you have your your topics for months & weeks, use them to brainstorm blog posts, videos, and social media updates throughout the year. This process is now easier because the topics are already decided!
► Plus, if you have an idea for something that’s on your calendar for November, put it in a file. Soon, your file will be overflowing with ideas that can help you generate MORE ideas!

With this under your belt, when marketing ideas or advertising opportunities arise, you are already following a plan. If the idea or opportunity fits into your plan, you can jump on it, or you can adapt your content strategy to fit the opportunity (if it’s too good to pass up).

An alternative tactic would be to share your content calendar with your trusted advertising reps. Then, they can bring new or “classic” packages to your attention when they a great fit for your upcoming content plans.

What other benefits do you find when you’ve planned your content creation ahead of time?

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How to Have a “Stellar” Week

Star PowerBasic Productivity Boost  – Just start the week (and each day) in a “stellar” way:

It’s Monday. Let’s not “ease into” this week.
★ Make a list of the things you want to do this week.
★ Put a star next to the things you have to do today.
★ Get to work immediately on the starred list.

Re-prioritize along the way if absolutely necessary.

I understand that some projects or activities call for a more complex approach. Give those items a list of their own.

Go!

Three Requirements for Progress

three-requirements-for-progress

Is your business “stuck”? Are you having trouble moving ahead in a project or activity? Wondering why you can’t keep up any consistent momentum? You need enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment to make progress.

  • Enthusiasm means excitement, joy, or positive energy. Think about how that makes a difference in everything you do. You could also call it “spirit”.
  • Think about what drives you – your “why” – the reasons behind the reasons. That’s motivation.
  • Commitment can also be called loyalty, purpose, or determination. What makes you go at it again and again when you have difficulty, or even when you fail? We’re talking about commitment.

When any of these falter, the other two will be negatively affected. When you improve any of these, you can make positive progress in the other areas. I believe this to be true in business productivity, faith, relationships, personal development, and sports performance. In fact, I can’t think of an area that would not follow this principle.

What’s more, I’m afraid that even if you’re amazingly strong in any one of these and lack the other two, any success/progress will be short-lived. For example, a person with strong commitment, yet lacking enthusiasm or motivation will be subject to rapid burn-out.

Your challenge today: Take 5 minutes to choose an area of life that could use improvement on one of these pillars. List three ways to make that improvement. Pick one, and do it.

Do you have a similar principle to share? Do you disagree with this one? Would you like to see more on this topic?